Breastfeeding – The good the bad and the ugly

BREASTFEEDING — I am committed!

***Please note, I do talk a lot about breasts, nipples and infection in this post.  If you are uncomfortable with those topics, please skip this post.

In several previous posts, I alluded to having some challenges in the breastfeeding domain.  Well, I want to explain a bit more about the challenges we have been facing.  Thankfully, we are already on a much better road.  Things are looking up for Winter and I’s feeding relationship!  So let’s dive in….

First of all, can I please say….  “WHY DIDN’T I KNOW HOW HARD BREASTFEEDING WAS GOING TO BE?!?!

I don’t mean that statement in a negative way, whatsoever.  I mean it as an honest question.  Why don’t people really tell us that it’s not only going to be a commitment (ie, your entire 24 hour day is consumed by a baby attached to your boob in the first months of life), but that it also can have a lot of big challenges (painful nipples, possible infections, improper latching issues, etc)??  Many times before have I heard other moms talk about “breastfeeding is a commitment” or “breastfeeding will challenge you,” but I didn’t know what those statements truly meant.  Now I do.  🙂

breastfeed

When I was pregnant, I made it known that I was planning to breastfeed after Winter was born.  I have always felt that breastfeeding my baby (and future babies) was the best choice for me and my family.  I am a very stubborn person, so no one can change my mind about this!  I know there are so many health benefits for both the baby as well as the mom.  I was bound and determined to make the choice to dedicate the first year (approximately…give or take a month or two) of my child’s life to feeding her via breastfeeding.  With that being said, I had no clue HOW much dedication and commitment to that choice it was going to take.  Let me explain our journey…

IMMEDIATELY AFTER BIRTH. In the hospital right after birth Winter started breastfeeding like a champion.  In fact, the lactation consultant gave us praises upon praises for what an awesome job we were doing.  She seemed to have a fairly good latch, and at that early stage, she would eat for about 10 minutes on each breast and be completely satisfied.  As a very sleepy newborn, I would have to wake her up at the 3 hour mark to feed her.  She never cried or seemed to be dissatisfied from hunger in those early days.  While in the hospital, I did feel a bit of discomfort in my nipples, and they seemed to be very irritated.  But lanolin cream was my friend and gave me relief.  Winter left the hospital with only a 2% weightloss, which is very good.  The pediatrician said a normal weight loss upon discharge from the hospital is around 5-10%.  So we were “ahead of the game” at that stage.

FIRST WEEK AT HOME.  In that first week, I really had to keep waking Winter up for her feedings.  She was content as could be.  Unfortunately during that first week was when I somehow developed a nipple infection on both sides.  I also started getting a fever like clockwork every night for 4-5 nights in a row (between 100-102 degree fevers).  I had the severe chills that caused violent shaking.  Thankfully my mom was in town staying with us to help out that week, and boy was she a huge help!  She is a nurse and a very experienced mom (I’m one of 8 kids), so I appreciated her so much.  We called my doctor and I started my first round of antibiotics.  This really helped my fevers go away, but my nipples were still in terrible shape.  Because my nipples were in such a rough shape, my mom recommended I start using a nipple shield to help Winter latch better and also protect my infected nipples.

shield

Nipple shield.

WEEKS 2 & 3 – NO WEIGHT GAIN.  Despite my infection (which I ended up doing 3 rounds of antibiotics — 4 weeks worth — and nothing really ever helped), I was still very committed to breastfeeding.  At all costs, I did not want to switch to formula.  (**There is NOTHING wrong with formula, and I know a lot of moms choose that for their babies.  That is great if you have decided to use formula.  I just personally feel that breastfeeding is the best option for me and my baby and know there are great health benefits for both she and I.)  Even though I was breastfeeding 9-10 times per day, I found out that 3-week-old Winter wasn’t gaining any weight, STILL!  She wasn’t losing weight (thankfully!), but she was maintaining right above birth weight.  Not good.  Something was wrong.  The lactation consultant recommended I start pumping every 2 hours to increase my milk supply and feed her the bottles (she suspected that Winter wasn’t eating much while at the breast).  The LC was very concerned and wanted to get us on a better road.  Not gaining weight is not good for a 3 week old baby.  She also recommended I see an Ears, Nose, Throat specialist to see if Winter had a tongue tie issue.  Tongue tie is a medical condition that doesn’t allow for a baby to get a good latch.  An ENT doctor can fix tongue tie with a very easy and quick procedure.

Finding out that Winter wasn’t gaining weight and thinking she might have a medical issue really freaked me out.  I got VERY stressed.  For several days/that 3rd week of life, I was completely overwhelmed and felt out of control.  My emotions were all over the place.  I felt like a failure and felt that I was doing terribly at my job as a mom.  It didn’t help that I was all alone at this time because Eric was out of town on business for several days to a week at a time.  I got a referral to see the ENT specialist at Children’s Hospital.  If indeed Winter did have this “tongue tie” medical condition, it would be a simple fix and would allow all of our problems to be resolved quickly.  Well, no tongue tie issue.  The doctor said her mouth looked healthy and strong.  We were back to square 1.  So I continued to pump every 2 hours and feed her the bottles.

In addition to pumping, I was recommended to take herbal supplements for increasing my milk supply.  I take Fenugreek (found at Whole Foods or other natural food stores).  This has made a HUGE difference in milk supply!!  It really works!  I almost instantly saw an improvement in the number of ounces I produced.  I also started eating old fashioned oats on a daily basis.  This is also supposed to help stimulate milk production.

ONE MONTH OLD – FINALLY WEIGHT GAIN BEGINS!  When Winter was 4 weeks old, I had been pumping religiously every 2 hours for just over a week.  I go to a breastfeeding group at the hospital every Wednesday.  We weigh the baby to get a pre-weight, then breastfeed, and then weigh the baby after to get a post-feed weight to see how many ounces the baby ate.  Really helpful group and I go every single week!!  Well, at this particular time, after pumping around the clock, I was DELIGHTED to find out that she had gained 10 ounces in one week!  Finally we found something that worked for her to gain weight!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWeight gain!!!  At one month she was 8 lbs 8 oz.

Talk about major relief!  I finally could relax and get a deep breath in for the first time.  I finally felt like I was a good mom.  What I was doing was working and helping Winter to thrive.  I still felt unsure about pumping 100% of the time.   I didn’t want to be a pumping mom.  I wanted to breastfeed.  So I started adding in one breastfeeding session per day using the nipple shield (still infected nipples).  I really struggled with the idea of pumping so much, but as time progressed, I started to like some of the perks of pumping.  I still am battling the fact that I am pumping as much as I do, but I am choosing to look at the bright side of things:

Some perks of pumping:

– I like being able to count the number of ounces she eats.  I like totaling up at the end of the day to see that she ate even MORE than the recommended amount of ounces for her on the chart.  I’m totally a numbers person, so I love this.

– I also like being able to see my milk supply going up.  Because I pump, I can see my number of ounces I produce increasing.  In the early stages, I was only pumping 1-3 ounces at a time, totaling less than 20 ounces per day.  Now, at 7.5 weeks, I am pumping at least 3-5 ounces per time (sometimes even 7-8 ounces in the early mornings!), totaling 35-40 ounces per day.  I LOVE seeing that number go up!

-Sometimes I feel uncomfortable nursing out in public or in front of others.  Pumping and giving a bottle makes it a bit easier to feed in front of others.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with nursing in front of others, but I just feel more at ease when I am able to give her a bottle of breast milk when I’m out and about.

-Eric gets to partake in the bonding experience of feeding the baby.  He enjoys feeding Winter her bottles when he is home.  I must say I also appreciate the help.

Now for a few negatives:

-It’s a nuisance to have to wash pump parts and bottles all day, everyday.  I found that putting the parts in the fridge helps.  But in general, when I nurse her, I am saving myself so many EXTRA steps.

-Pumping & bottle feeding is no faster than breastfeeding.  I used to think that it was (when it used to take her 45 minutes to nurse), but now it’s about equal amount of time.  When she nurses now, she is at the breast a max of 30 minutes.  Pumping & bottle-feeding takes just as long, or longer because.

-My breasts get a tad engorged if I go a bit longer than usual because I’ve been out and about.  Sometimes I bring a bottle along when I’m away from home so I can still feed her on schedule.  But then I don’t get to pump again until I get home, so my breasts get very full and uncomfortable.

medelaMy pump: Medela Pump In Style.

ONE MONTH OLD UNTIL CURRENT.  Winter is now 7.5 weeks old.  She has been gaining an average of 10 ounces per week, and is doing fantastic!  She weighed 10 pounds last week at her weigh in.  I’m so happy!  My infection is still there, but ever so slowly it is healing.  I’m no longer on antibiotics because they didn’t really help anyway.  My doctors said to just keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully they will eventually get better.  Seems to be working now.

We have modified our feeding system a few times in the past few weeks.  I still pump a high percentage of the time, but I have also been incorporating more and more breastfeeding sessions.  I struggle to know what I’d eventually like to do when it comes to how much pumping vs. breastfeeding I’m doing.  There are pros and cons of both breastfeeding and pumping.  I think I like the flexibility that I can do both.  I like counting the number of ounces she eats from pumping (definitely a numbers person!), but I like the simplicity and easy-factor of nursing.  For now I’m just “going with the flow” (pun intended!) and doing whatever I feel like at the moment.

I follow Baby Wise principles, feeding on a 3 hour routine throughout the day (followed by waketime and then naptime).  My current daily routine looks like this: I usually pump during the middle of the night and early morning feedings because this is when I produce the most milk.  I know Winter can’t eat all of those ounces at once, so I’d rather pump and be done with it rather than pumping after she finishes nursing anyway (talk about extra work!).  Then I find throughout the day I either breastfeed or pump/bottle feed every 3 hours depending on “what I feel like doing” at that time.  I’m currently feeding her 7-8 times per day (including her middle of the night feed), and I usually breastfeed 2-3 times per day and pump all of the rest of the feeding times.  (I could see myself transitioning to 50-50 with nursing and pumping in the near future.  We shall see!)  At night, our last feeding before bedtime is 10pm, and I always pump at that feeding because I want to make sure my breasts are completely drained before Winter’s long stretch of sleep (which is currently 5-5.5 hours, wahoo!).

When it comes to pumping/bottle-feeding, Eric really loves to help out!  He the bonding he gets with Winter from feeding her.  I know for sure I will always try to pump at least once a day no matter what so I don’t take that away from him.

Breastfeeding Conclusion….

JUST A FEW TIPS ON FEEDING.

1. Be committed.  Don’t stray from your commitment, because eventually it does start to get easier.  And it’s so WORTH IT!  Stay positive…your attitude is totally key.

2. Ask for help.  I have been seeing the lactation consultant regularly.  Her knowledge and expertise have been tremendously helpful.

3. If you have to pump, it’s ok!  Your baby and you are still going to get the same health benefits from pumping!  I have had to keep telling myself this over and over so I don’t feel like a failure.  It’s OKAY!

4. Use your resources.  Learn, learn, learn….whether it’s reading a breastfeeding book, reading articles online, or asking experienced friends for help…use them all!  Don’t go blindly into it…use every tool you have.

5. Find a system that works for YOU.  Don’t worry about comparing yourself to others.  If you demand-feed, great!  If you routine/schedule feed, great!  I have found that routine feeding is the system that works best for us.  Whatever you do, just make sure it works with your lifestyle.

6. Don’t cut calories too much.  When breastfeeding, it’s so important to eat and drink enough!  I eat 2100 calories per day, and I use MyFitnessPal app to track my daily calories.  Try to keep your foods nutritious, not junk!  Plus, water, water, water.  I drink 10 full glasses per day.

7. If you pump frequently, store your pump parts (flanges & bottles) in the fridge between pumping sessions.  It will save a few minutes of dish washing each time.  Wash and sterilize parts at the end of the day.

8. Find a breastfeeding group.  I mentioned I go to a group once per week.  It’s so helpful to find out baby’s weekly weight and also find out how many ounces she eats during a nursing session.  There are groups all over….just find one and GO!

9. If you have complications (mastitis, infection, plugged ducts, bleeding nipples, etc), please seek medical counsel.  Don’t just “deal with it.”  Go to your doctor and get some real help.

10. When you sit down to nurse, make sure you have everything you need BEFORE you begin….for me that’s a nipple shield, burp cloth, glass of water, my phone, and sometimes the TV remote (and a nursing cover if I’m in public or others are around).  Have everything ready rather than wishing you had it and now you are stuck.  🙂

I am so grateful that throughout all of our hiccups that we have a system that works for us.  My doctor made a great point, she said, “Whether you are nursing her or giving her bottles of pumped breast milk, the benefits are still the same for both you and her!”  As time goes on, I am noticing my infection is healing.  Ever so SLOWWWWWLY.  Because of this, I am starting to do more nursing rather than so much pumping.  Who knows where we will end up?!?  But I do know this: I plan to keep on keeping on.  We are on such a much easier road now than we were a month ago.  I feel so blessed to be where we are.

To those of you who have any thoughts or ideas (or tips) about breastfeeding or pumping, please do share!

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34 thoughts on “Breastfeeding – The good the bad and the ugly

  1. I also use a nipple shield. So annoying but at least it works. Jax latches on perfectly some days without it and others he refuses to open his mouth wide enough. I never thought of storing pump parts in the fridge, genius!! That tip may encourage me to pump more often since I’ll be saving so much time. Im sorry nobody told you how hard breastfeeding can be, I was warned of all of the negatives. Great post!

    • It’s amazing how much a nipple shield can help! I agree it really seems to help with latching…it makes the process go smoother. I’d like to eventually lose the shield simply for the fact that it’s just one extra thing. It’d be simpler to be able to breastfeed without it…always have to make sure you have one and make sure it’s washed and cleaned. But honestly, if I have to keep using it forever, that’s fine too! It really is a helpful too. Glad that it’s working well for you and little Jaxon! Hope you two are doing well!

      • I agree, I would rather use it and be successful than not! I guess we can just be thankful they exist so we can still have this work out! Jaxon latches without it whenever I offer, but its not always a good latch. waiting for him to get a little bigger so that we can stop having those few slips that make it OH SO PAINFUL! We are doing great 🙂 Its hard to get organized enough to make a post about our schedule.. hhahah must mean there isn’t really a schedule.

      • Yes, I agree, I’d rather have it and be successful than not! I’m glad Jaxon does well with it! I’ve tried BFing a couple of times without it in the past week and she seems to do okay…but better with it still. I’m holding out for the day when she will get a great latch without it! Someday!

  2. Ahh, I’m sorry it was such a rocky start for you guys. Glad things are looking up and she’s gaining weight. Is her latch improved? We also had some of the same issues. Our little guy was in fact tongue tied, then has a shallow latch. So I ended up with mastitis when he was a week old which led to weight loss in him. Finally at 3.5wks old he was just above his birth weight. We are still working on improving his latch. It is crazy how hard bf can be. I will have to look into taking those tablets for milk supply, I got the mothers milk tea as well.

    Winter is lucky to have such a determined mommy.

    • Oh noooo!! You poor thing, mastitis is no joke! I bet that was terrible…not to mention to the added stress of Chael (I hope I spelled that right) losing weight. There are already so many things going on in those early weeks to make things feel stressful, and then you had all of that EXTRA thrown on top of everything. I’m so sorry! It sounds like things are sort of on the upslope for you now…or at least I hope so!

      Breastfeeding is SO HARD, who knew??! Honestly I didn’t realize how much it takes out of you. But now that I’m at the 8 week mark, I can honestly say it’s getting easier. Everything is getting a bit easier in general. Hang in there, you are doing an awesome job! You sound like a very determined mommy too!

      Oh, and definitely try picking up some Fenugreek. I just went to Sprouts yesterday to pick up 2 more bottles (they were on sale, so I stocked up!). I don’t take 3 doses a day like I used to, but probably just one dose now that my supply seems pretty well established. I like it because it’s easier and quicker than the Mother’s Milk tea (which is also a good resource too!). The only negative is that it makes you smell like maple syrup. Not kidding. Your sweat will smell sweet! It’s a tad annoying, but I’m used to it now, haha!

  3. Thank you for your post! I’m having issues with painful nipples but I’m trying to find something that works for comfort. Your post was enlightening and I feel that same sense of dedication!

    • I’m so glad you are encouraged by this post. Hang in there, momma!! You are doing an awesome job! I’m so sorry you are dealing with some BF issues and painful nipples. I recommend seeing a lactation consultant if you aren’t already consulting one. They are WORTH it because they can help resolve your issues. Or at least they can get you on a better track. Hang in there!! Being a new mom is hard, sounds like you are really doing great though!

  4. Ohhhh sweetie, I feel like I could have written this post. In fact, I kind of did. My last 3 posts are about breastfeeding. I too started out well and then went downhill from there. It got so painful that I eventually switched from exclusive BFing to a combo of feeding/pumping to let my nipples heal. The pain was so awful there was no other choice. I’ve also worked with a LC and gone to support groups. But really, it’s just about being strong and pushing through it. Now I’m back to primarily BFing, but it is still so damn hard. I too wrote a post about how women need to be better prepared for this. OH and your tips for feeding and pumping are awesome. I agree with every single one! Especially about getting everything you need before starting.

    • Oh! Some things that I’ve found that help – Lanisoh latch assist, APNO prescription cream, BoobEase calendula cream, Milksaver milk catcher, and staying calm! Unfortunately, nipple shields haven’t really helped us. I had a bad experience when my nipples were really bad when the nipple shield actually filled with blood from mt nipple!

      • Oh and thanks for the recommendations! I have also been using APNO (though I didn’t find much improvement from a month of use, so I switched back to regular lanolin cream). I have to check out some of those other products, thank you!!

        P.S. I’m sorry the nipple shield hasn’t helped you. I’ve had that same experience will blood filling the shield too…no fun! I’d really like to ditch the shield eventually though….

    • I really need to swing over to your blog and read your experiences too! I have been slowly getting back to blogging the past couple of weeks, but I’m still behind on reading some of my main bloggers’ blogs.

      Man, I’m sorry you have been down this exact same road too! How crazy that our experiences are so similar! Did you like pumping? I like BFing but yet I hateeeee not knowing how many ounces she is consuming during BF feeds vs pumped bottle feeds. I know this is an OCD issue…but it’s really hard for me to think “oh she got enough”…no, I want to know “oh, she just ate 4 ounces exactly.” I have a little notebook I write every single feed, diaper change, and pumping session in. I haven’t missed a single day in 2 whole months. I’m a tad OCD about it…. I’ve considered the possibility of being an exclusive pumping mom, but then I cringe at that thought because sometimes pumping is just extra work…. I’m still just battling what I should do!!!

      I’m considering buying a baby weight scale and doing pre and post weights on baby for BF to see the number of ounces she eats. I had originally bought a scale and then returned it because our weight gain issues quickly resolved after I got a system figured out. I want to buy the scale back and keep it for BF purposes. Do they do pre and post weights at your BF support group??? I think it’s really neat idea, and then that would solve my “numbers/how many ounces she eats dilemma”….

  5. Awesome post!! I too was not warned about breast feeding! I have had all sorts of problems with painful latching, bleeding and cluster feeding on bleeding nipples! I am trying to stay strong and keep going! We are getting better but I can see why some women give up and use formula, it seems a lot easier! Question… How do you heat up your milk to feed her when you are out? I am trying to pump but was worried I wouldn’t be able to heat the milk for him.

    • Hang in there, momma!! You are doing such an awesome job! BF is so tough, but after a while eventually you will hopefully get some of these issues resolved. It’s worth it, because you are giving baby such great nutrition! I also see how it would be so easy to give up and switch to formula. The idea went through my mind many times, but I’m so glad I didn’t give in. You can do it!!!! It will get easier as time goes on.

      As far as heating the milk, I actually just give her cold milk when we are out. She seems perfectly happy to drink it cold. A tip though that you could do is just leave the milk out (don’t use a cooler) so it warms to room temp. Don’t let it sit out TOOOO long though, but maybe a few hours max.

  6. We are having problems too. H is slightly tongue tied and that combined with my over active let down makes it so hard. Sometimes she cries when I try to breast-feed her so have to pump and give her a bottle. I can totally relate to this post. iTunes thing committed to giving her breastmilk because that is what I want to do. Keep up the good work mama!

    • Boy oh boy, I’m sorry you are also having issues. It seems that we are not alone in all of this. It sounds like almost all of us are having some sort of BF issues, which is actually comforting to know that we are going through it together! I’m sorry that you and Hadley have a tough time…but thank goodness for pumping, right?!? The important thing is that she is getting breast milk. You are doing a great job!!! Keep it up, momma!! BF is hard, and it sounds like you are committed to the job!

  7. I wish I had known about the pump parts in the fridge thing with Damian. That’s brilliant! I had to exclusively pump with him so I know how hard it can be. I eventually gave up and switched to all formula for him (he was already getting fortified breast milk mixed with special formula to help with weight gain. He didn’t regain birth weight for almost 3 months.) anyway. You are right. No one tells you how incredibly hard it can be and if you don’t have support it’s easy to give up. Stick with it and hopefully you’ll get to nurse her more and more. Hope the healing continues!!

    • So you have been down the exclusive pumping road….how was it?? I have a good friend who exclusively pumped for about 9 months! I can’t imagine….it’s so much work!! I’m slowly adding back more and more nursing so I’m a breastfeeding/pumping combo. I doubt I’ll ever get back to exclusively nursing simply because I kind of like some of the pros of pumping. I think I’ll eventually end up 50-50.

      I’m sorry you had a hard road with Damian! Sounds like things are going better with Clare! BF is so hard, and no one really tells you the extent at how hard it is. Are you guys having an easier time this round???

  8. I feel you lady! I am a mixed pumping/breastfeeding mom as well. When my milk came in, my LO was so tiny, and he had a lot of trouble latching. I had to constantly pump and feed him with bottles. I have had a LOT of the exact same struggles and a lot of the same thoughts about the pros and cons of the situation. I slowly incorporated breastfeeding back in with once a day, and then twice, and now I always START with breastfeeding for each feed and then top off with the bottle depending on how much he eats. With my babe, sometimes he will nurse fine and other times it feels like a wrestling match and he won’t do it, and I end up having to give him a bottle. As time has gone on, he has gotten better with nursing, and I am having to pump less. I usually do it in the morning and before I go to bed. Depending on how well he does during the day with nursing, I may have to throw one more pump session in there. It’s interesting because a lot of my breastfeeding mom friends are now at the point where they want to give a bottle so they can go out and do something for themselves and their babies won’t take a bottle at all. Since I will be going back to work in Jan as well and will need to pump, I am trying to look at all the positives. Even though the experience isn’t how I initially imagined it being, it’s working for my baby and me and he’s still getting breast milk which I also think is best. Motherhood is definitely an adventure! Thanks for sharing this post.

    XO,

    Gina

    http://www.popcornandpandas.com

    • Wow, sounds like we have had a very similar experience with combo pumping/nursing. Isn’t it amazing how BF doesn’t “turn out the way we imagined it”??? I really did not picture my BF life like this, but perhaps pumping does have some perks that BF doesn’t have. Like you said, some moms can’t give their little one a bottle because the baby refuses it! I do love that I can give a bottle in certain situations….I especially don’t love having to use a nursing cover (it is tricky for me, it’s so much easier to nurse without one!), so the freedom of using a bottle in public is so nice.

      When you went through and debated the pros and cons of BF vs pumping exclusively, did you feel like you weren’t truly BFing if you were an exclusive pumper? That’s the idea that kept running through my head. I always pictured that I would just BF and only have to pump occasionally if I was going to be apart from baby, etc. So when I started pumping exclusively and then slowly added back bits of nursing, I just felt like it was NOT what I pictured. I’ve still been debating what I want to end up doing. I honestly don’t see myself going back to a 100% nursing mom, but I don’t want to be a 100% exclusive pumping mom either. I think I’d ideally like to be a 50-50 mom. Ughhhhh….it’s sooooo complicated for me to know what is best for us! How have you settled at feeling content with what you have chosen??? I’m trying to get to that content part!

      • I definitely did not picture it like this either. It used to be extremely frustrating and upsetting, but I have come to terms with it now. I realize there is nothing I can do, and stressing about it doesn’t help anything. He is still getting the “good stuff” no matter if it comes from the breast or the bottle. He is fed and healthy, and I am doing everything I can do. Lately, he has gotten a lot better with nursing, so that has helped. Also, I am going to have to go back to work soon and pump anyway, so I didn’t see the need to try and fight it too hard. I just always try to nurse first as much as he will eat, and then top up with the bottle. And it’s definitely helpful in certain situations being 50/50. I hate the nursing cover, although don’t really mind nursing in public as much anymore. However, if we are at an event or something, out to dinner, or I’m dressed up, or at a place where everyone is meeting the baby for the first time, it’s nice to be able to just give him a bottle for sure. I definitely felt like you did about “not being a real breastfeeder.” I felt like I wasn’t getting that bonding experience that I was supposed to, especially when I had to spend half the day pumping in the beginning. But the important thing is that they ARE getting breast milk, and you are doing everything you can. Sometimes as parents things throw you for a loop, and things don’t work out the way we think. Every day is a new adventure that we have to figure out. Hang in there, you will eventually feel content with the fact that you are doing everything you can for you and your babe!

      • THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT!! Seriously, I appreciate what you said so much. It is so helpful to hear from someone who understands how I feel about all of this. You are so right…whether it comes from the breast or the bottle, she is still getting the “good stuff.” I think that in the past few days I’ve allowed myself to relax and just “go with it” and not let myself get so hung up on all of this. I think changing my attitude is helping overall, because breastfeeding is actually going better for us since I changed my attitude. I still have been pumping half the time, but in the other half of the feeds when I nurse, the whole process is going MUCH better. Thank you again for taking the time to write me such an encouraging message. I greatly appreciate it!

  9. I just read through your replys you got, it’s encouraging knowing we are not alone with bf issues. I at times felt like a failure because we couldn’t get it, but it’s common and we are working past it. Also I too had the same issue as above with a bloody nipple filled shield, not fun.

    • I know!!! I have been reading these responses as they come in, and now am having a bit of time to sit down and respond to them. It’s really encouraging knowing that we aren’t alone when it comes to struggles in the BF domain. I think that BF is the hardest part of being a new mom. honestly. It would be so much easier to do formula. Mom’s who do formula are doing a great thing too…but I’ve just been so determined to stick with breastmilk. I know that feeling of “I feel like I’m failing” but once things improve slightly and baby steps are made, those feelings started to minimize. Having a really strong support system is so key. I know that my mom, sisters, and friends have constantly been giving me praising, uplifting words and encouraging me. This helped me tremendously. You are doing AWESOME!!! Keep it up and you are rocking the mom job! You are Chael’s mom and he loves you and the two of you are going to do the best job that you can do together. I just hope and pray that it gets to be easy breezy for all of us!

      • I agree, support has been something that has helped me through. My SO has been great even though it has been hard for him to me going through the pain and struggle with feeding him. Yet he knows how much of a BF advocate I am and how much it means to me, so he has helped me through it. I started taking Fenugreek the other day. It didn’t take long before the “maple syrup” affect took place. LOL. Thank you for your encouraging words. – Priscilla

      • I’m so glad he is being supportive of you, so important! I know it’s tough for our guys to watch us go through the pain & stress that have come with BF…they just love us and don’t like to see us like that! I’m glad the Fenugreek is kicking in…once you have the smell, it should be working, lol! I really swear that it helped me so much! Hang in there, you are doing great!!!! Today is Winter’s 2 month birthday and I can honestly say that life is getting so much easier and most of our BF struggles are behind us now!

      • That’s so good to hear things are looking up for you guys. I’m REALLY looking forward to the 6-8 week mark because I heard that’s when things start working out better. We are at 5 weeks today. 🙂

      • Happy 5 weeks! Yes, at 6 weeks was when life seemed to get just a tad bit easier for us. She started sleeping a little longer at night–that sure helped. In general I started to feel like a “new person” at that point. Now, at 8.5 weeks/2 months, she is sleeping 7 hours at night (hallelujah!!) and she can drain my breasts from BF in 20-25 minutes instead of the previous 45 minutes. Heavenly! You are so close to the 6-8 week mark, so I’m sure it will start happening for you too! Who knew that those first weeks as a new mom would be SO CHALLENGING?!? I had no idea how hard it was going to be. I guess I’ll remember for the future when I have another baby.

  10. Pingback: Breastfeeding – THEN and NOW | baby WINTER lute

  11. Thank you so much for posting this. My son was born at 37 weeks, struggled with jaundice, and we both have struggled with breastfeeding. He’s now 2-1/2 weeks old and we are just taking it one day at a time. It’s so frustrating to me to hear from friends whose babies breastfeed like it’s the most natural thing in the world. But hearing other peoples’ struggles makes me feel more normal. My big struggle right now is engorgement and oversupply (I am spraying him with milk every time we feed!), and the fact that he prefers one breast to the other. Trying not to pump too much so that I’m not always engorged, and it’s tricky trying to find the right balance.

    • Just know that you are not alone in breastfeeding issues. So many new moms struggle in the early weeks. I promise, it will eventually get better if you stick with it and keep on going. I am still breastfeeding (she’s now 13 months) and I love it. We are probably going to wean in the next month or so. Keep up the good work. You are doing great!! Breastmilk is so good for your little one!! Hang in there.

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